WITH the festive season upon us residents are being advised on some top tips to avoid tummy troubles while they tuck into their turkey.

Every year, there are around one million cases of food poisoning in Britain, so it’s important to protect your family and friends when handling food at home. 

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is urging its residents to take care when preparing the Christmas dinner – and for other festive get-togethers. 

The Food Standards Agency has launched its Let’s Talk Turkey campaign to provide residents with some guidance as to how to store and prepare food ahead of the big family meal.

Cabinet member for regulatory services and the environment, councillor Hayley Eachus said: “We wish all our residents a very happy and healthy Christmas. With so many festive parties and food on offer, it’s vital that we all take extra care when handling and cooking food.

“The Food Standards Agency’s campaign has some really useful advice that will help us to avoid food poisoning which can have serious consequences, especially for children, people with ill-health and older people.” 

Here are the tips given by the Food Standards Agency:

• When shopping for Christmas food, take sufficient carrier bags so that you can separate out raw and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.
• Ensure you leave enough time to fully defrost your frozen turkey in the fridge with the temperature set below 5C. Read the packaging as it could take as long as four days.
• Make room in your fridge to store the turkey – avoid cross-contamination by placing raw meat covered up on the bottom shelf. Remove items that don’t need to be chilled to make space.
• When preparing to cook, don’t wash your raw turkey – it will splash germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops.
• Either use separate knives and chopping boards for preparing raw meat and ready to eat food or wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water between tasks.
• Wash your hands thoroughly between tasks, after touching raw meat and before you handle ready-to-eat food.
• To work out the cooking time for your bird, check the instructions on the packaging. Check the meat is steaming hot throughout; there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part and the meat juices run clear.
• Cook stuffing in a separate tin – or extend the cooking time if you prefer stuffing inside the turkey.
• Turkey leftovers can be used to make a new meal, such as turkey curry, but make sure you only reheat it once.

For more food safety information this Christmas, visit food.gov.uk/letstalkturkey